Gold, the World’s Anxiety Index

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” —Luke 21:25

THE gold market is telling us of increasing world anxiety and instability. Some of the gloomy questions that are influencing the volatile gold prices seem to be: Are Western industrial democracies truly on the doorstep of an inflationary apocalypse that will see the destruction of paper currencies? Will the dwindling oil supplies send a world recession spiraling down into an uncontrollable slump? Are America and the Soviet Union squaring off to fight World War III in the oil-rich sands of the Middle East? (Article by Paul Lewis, New York Times, January 6, 1980)

These are not hypothetical questions. Even now, Russia, with 100,000 men, supported by tanks and other armor, has overrun and annexed Afghanistan. Will Iran or Pakistan be next? The latest round of oil price increases has already condemned the industrial democracies to at least a year of economic stagnation and increased unemployment. Inflation continues to grow in double-digit figures. And the real threat of war has been publicly noted by such prominent leaders as President d’Estaing of France and Pope John Paul II.

Why is gold so sensitive to the conditions that exist in the world today? The answer lies in the nature of money itself. Money might simply be defined as a standard of value for goods received and services rendered. Money is anything that people will accept in exchange for goods and services, in the belief that they may in turn exchange it later for other goods or services. The standard for this medium of exchange in international trade has for years been the American dollar. Its value has been based on the integrity of the American economy. The economy in the past has been stable and reliable, and therefore the dollar as a standard of value has been reliable. But all of this has changed; inflation has cut the value of the dollar in half, in terms of goods and services. With the huge national debt and declining productivity of the work force, the prospect for improvement is bleak. The American dollar is no longer a totally reliable medium of exchange.

The condition of the American economy is not unique in the family of industrialized nations. Therefore, a substitute for the dollar as a standard of exchange is not very probable. Gold, on the other hand, has a universal appeal. It is by far the most universal substance that has ever been used as money through past centuries. Its value is related to its universal acceptance, its scarcity, and the demand for it. People with assets converted to dollars, or other currencies, prefer to exchange them for gold, with the prospect that gold will retain its value in terms of goods and services, whereas nations could default in redeeming their paper currencies.

The huge gyrations in the price of gold and other precious metals have also been influenced by the enormous amounts of capital in the hands of the OPEC nations, who have been buying gold as a hedge against the generally unstable economy.

The above is admittedly a very simplified explanation of a very complex subject, but the general principle is correct. Mammon, as the symbol of Satan’s rule, is losing its credibility, and world conditions do not leave much hope for recovery. The following quotation from the U.S. News and World Report of January 7, 1980, seems to summarize the plight of Satan’s rule.

The Economy: Jitters, Gloom and Concern. For the U.S. and its allies, the world economic scene is more clouded than ever with risks and uncertainties. Behind the jitters are fears of runaway inflation, the threat of oil shortages in the wake of Mideast instability and doubt over the outcome of U.S. presidential elections. If the most pessimistic fears of European analysts are borne out, there could be a sharp recession in the U.S. and the rest of the world, a more dramatic run on the American dollar and a crisis of confidence in financial markets. Carter himself is in for heavy criticism from some Western economic experts for letting inflation get out of hand and for not cracking down hard enough on energy use. Still, many are encouraged by Washington’s recent credit squeeze—even as they worry about the impact of a steep recession later in 1980. Others see the cutoff of Iranian oil imports as a way of forcing the U.S. to conserve fuel. But that is not enough to turn gloom to optimism. Turmoil in Iran has shattered hopes that the up-and-down value of the U.S. dollar will be stabilized this year. Instead, signs point to a further weakening of the dollar, especially if pre-election strategy in the U.S. dictates a quick easing of monetary restraint or if frightened holders of dollars shift assets into other currencies or gold, which in the final weeks of 1979 streaked upward in value. The most worrisome jolt ahead is skyrocketing oil prices. Rising petroleum costs could trigger another consumer price explosion, force governments to impose strict credit curbs to chill business activity and plunge poorer nations so deeply into debt they would have to drastically cut imports. Shrinking markets, in turn, could lead to creeping protectionism and more trade conflicts among the Allies.”

The signs seem to point unerringly to a coming climactic collapse of this present evil world. The Prophet Ezekiel spoke of this time: “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.”—Ezek. 7:19

This prophecy concerns the intense time of trouble that will come upon the earth just prior to the establishment of Christ’s thousand-year kingdom. All the institutions of this present order must be destroyed and thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the people before the new order is established in the kingdom. The clearing away of an old order in preparation for the establishment of a new one has occurred only once before in the history of the world; and this experience, the Apostle Peter tells us, is an illustration of the work that is taking place in the earth today. In II Peter, the 3rd chapter, the apostle prefaces his prophecy concerning our day with an account of what happened in the past. In verses 2 to 6 we read: “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior; knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”

Our Lord said, in Luke 17:26, “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” In Noah’s day the inhabitants of the land scoffed at the idea of a flood, for according to Genesis 2:5,6, it had never rained upon the earth, but the land was watered from a mist from the earth. So the inhabitants did not heed Noah’s warning and continued their way of life, “walking after their own lusts,” oblivious of the impending disaster to befall them. The Apostle Peter tells us that this same condition would prevail today, and we can see it all about us. As used in the 4th verse, the Lord’s “coming” has to do with the phase of his presence in which he will clear the way and establish his kingdom. The people of earth now scoff at this warning for they say, “All things are as they were from the beginning of creation.”

The point of the apostle is that they really have no excuse, because they are willingly ignorant of what happened before—it is a fact that the “world that then was being overflowed with water perished.” The word “world” is a translation of the Greek word kosmos, which means the arrangements or institutions of earth. We, of course, know that the literal earth is not meant, because it survived the Flood and was repopulated and was provided with a new order of things.

Then in verses 7 to 10 the apostle prophesied with respect to our present “world,” or order of things: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Keeping in mind that this prophecy of the Apostle Peter was made some 2,000 years ago, we note that he says the arrangement of things that comprise our “world” will be kept in store; that is, from Peter’s point of view the destruction of present institutions and arrangements was to take place some time in the far distant future, which has finally culminated in our day. In Bible symbology fire is used as an illustration of destruction, or a purifying agent. (Mal. 3:2) The word “judgment” is a translation of the Greek word krisis, which means “a decision.” So Peter’s thought of verse 7 would seem to be that the “heavens,” or the present spiritual arrangements, such as church systems, etc., and also other institutions of the “earth” are going to be destroyed. The individuals vitally associated with them will also lose their power. We are privileged to witness the beginning phase of the disintegration.

In verses 8 and 9 of his prophecy, the Apostle Peter first warns his listeners at that time, as well as us today, that God does not count time as we do and also that the various features of his plan could be separated by long periods of time. But his children should never become impatient, remembering always that God is “not slack concerning his promises.” The Prophet Habakkuk, in chapter 2, verse 3, expresses the thought so very well. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” The Apostle Peter assures us the delay is a demonstration of the mercy and love of God, who desires to give all an opportunity for life in the kingdom. (vs. 9) But this opportunity cannot come about until the fullness of the judgment upon Satan’s institutions and operators has come to pass.

In verse 10 the apostle describes in highly symbolic language the final destruction of Satan’s ecclesiastical heavens and the systems and institutions of earth, which are under his control. The final eradication of these things is in preparation for the establishing of Christ’s kingdom here on earth. The apostle describes this glorious event in these words (vs. 13): “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

The “new heavens” that God has promised mean the spiritual phase of the kingdom, which was described by the Revelator in Revelation 21:1,2: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Jerusalem has been the seat of government for the nation of Israel since God has been dealing with them as a people. Therefore, the city is used as a symbol of divine government. This government will be composed of Christ and those of his footstep followers during the Gospel Age who were more than overcomers. They will have the great privilege of being the instrument the Lord will use to bring blessings to all the families of the earth.—Matt. 19:28

Then the Revelator, in verses 3 and 4, describes in general terms what the work of this new government will be: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

In the new heavens and the new earth God will replace mammon, and no longer will man be oppressed by Satan’s spirit of selfishness, greed, and pride. In that day the Lord “shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”—Mic. 4:3,4

The thought of each person sitting under his own vine and fig tree is, of course, a symbolic way of describing complete freedom from oppression, fear, and anxiety. Our prayer is that the Lord may hasten that glorious day.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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